I have been digitalizing some of my old, very old, photographs to preserve them from old age. This one was taken by a Czech student friend of mine in Bristol who, I believe, went on to become a professional photographer. I think I was honoured to have been the subject of this beautifully composed shot and pleased that a special time of my life was captured on celluloid. I don’t know what this dreamy young man was thinking about and, if I did, I wouldn’t tell you, but I am reminded, once again, of William Wordsworth’s lines:
Bliss was it in that dawn to be alive,
But to be young was very heaven!
(from The Prelude)
William Wordsworth (1770-1850) was writing about being in France in the heady days at the dawn of the French Revolution before great hopes went sour for the French and before he lost some of his jeu d’esprit. I don’t think we had to have been there though to have experienced those feelings. We have that chance, all of us, from every generation, in those wonderful, idealistic days of youth. The real skill is hanging on to those feelings as time goes by.
William Wordsworth by Benjamin Robert Haydon – 1842 (National Portrait Gallery, London)